Over the last few weeks sermons have focused on conversations Jesus held with two very different people. Nicodemus is a powerful man and a leader. Then there is an unnamed Samaritan woman, whose morality is in question because of her many relationships. She has no power, influence or social status.
Nicodemus is asked to examine how power works and understand the damage it can do. Jesus talks about his future death on the cross, saying that when he is “lifted up” people will need to look at him to be saved. Here salvation is achieved when people see how they use their power to cause pain. Nicodemus will be saved when he accepts the need for sacrifice. The Samaritan woman did not have to sacrifice to find her way to salvation; she had nothing to give up. This woman’s path to salvation was found when Jesus showed her respect and she discovered her voice.
These contrasting stories tell us that the path to salvation may be different depending on who we are and what position we occupy in our culture. Some of us need to acknowledge that our use of power is damaging, and that we must start to live sacrificially. Some of us need to realize that we are deeply loved by God, need not be ashamed, and can stand up and speak God’s truth with power and force.
The Greek orthodox church gives her a name: Photini. Do you notice that Photini, not Nicodemus, speaks out about Jesus message of love? Nicodemus remains within the power structures of Israel, trying to influence them from within, but he seems afraid. Photini cannot contain herself. She preaches.
Find the two sermons on our website:
From the UK, Matthew loved US culture from the first time he picked up a Fantastic Four Comic when he was 12.